Divided between Russia's economic and political influence and the desire to emancipate itself through a rapprochement with the European Union, Ukraine was facing a new political crisis at the end of 2013.
President Victor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union provoked a wave of protests and mass demonstrations, leading to his dismissal.
Crimea, which is predominantly Russian-speaking, declared its independence and held a referendum with a view to joining Russia, which took place in 2014. Several other provinces with large Russian-speaking populations then rose up, trying in turn to hold referendums on self-determination.
This is the case in the Donbass Region, to the east of Ukraine, where fighting continues despite the ceasefire signed in February 2015 and regularly renewed since.
In March 2019, Ursula Mueller, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, recalled that since the beginning of the conflict more than 3,300 civilians have been killed and up to 9,000 injured. In the coming year, 3.5 million people will need humanitarian and protection assistance, especially the elderly, women and children.
TGH has launched a community support programme for isolated elderly people, and a coupon distribution system to meet the basic needs of isolated and vulnerable populations living near the Line of Contact.
Community support Programme
Individuals recruited in each community (mostly women who have lost their livelihoods) make home visits to isolated elderly people, providing presence and assistance in some daily tasks, especially in preparing for the winter period (building up stocks of coal, wood and water).
A network of 410 community volunteers has been set up, active even without any funding.
71% of the elderly assisted by TGH live alone, and 61% report having had more contact with the outside world before the conflict.
A dematerialised coupon system that leaves the choice of products to the beneficiaries
TGH provides an innovative and effective response to the chronic lack of resources with an electronic coupon system. Beneficiaries receive a dematerialised coupon that they can exchange in more than 100 partner stores for different types of essential products.
To date, more than 19,000 households along the 457 kilometres of the Line of Contact have benefited from this system, 14,000 households have received coupons to cover their hygiene needs and 2,000 people among the most vulnerable and closest to the Line of Contact have received multifunctional coupons to cover their basic needs.
This system has advantages for all parties involved: the beneficiaries adapt their purchases to their needs; TGH can monitor the products requested, and therefore the direct needs of the beneficiaries; and it boosts local activity.
Institutions and schools along the Line of Contact also receive electronic coupons for hygiene kits, and TGH ensures that they are in contact with unemployed people whom it pays for small renovation work.